Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been placed on suicide watch, TMZ reports.
Hernandez, who was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, is currently being held at MCI Cedar Junction in Massachusetts. He will stay there until he’s transferred to Souza-Baranowkis prison in Shirley, Mass.
A suicide watch is not uncommon in situations such as this when an inmate has just been hit with a heavy sentence. Hernandez has also been isolated for the general inmate population, for his protection as a high-profile inmate and to help prison officials evaluate him and determine where he will stay once he reaches his permanent home.
Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder of semi-professional player Odin Lloyd. He also faces charges for a separate double-homicide in Boston that occurred in 2012.
The former football pro was also found guilty on weapons charges. Jurors deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before rendering their verdict.
For reasons that were never made clear to the jury, Lloyd was shot six times in the middle of the night on June 17, 2013, in a deserted industrial park near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.
Police almost immediately zeroed in on Hernandez because they found in Lloyd’s pocket the key to a car the NFL player had rented. Within hours of Hernandez’s arrest, the Patriots cut the former Pro Bowl athlete, who was considered one of the top tight ends in the game.
Prosecutors presented a wealth of evidence that Hernandez was with Lloyd at the time he was killed, including home security video from Hernandez’s mansion, witness testimony and cellphone records that tracked Lloyd’s movements.
Hernandez’s lawyer, James Sultan, acknowledged for the first time during closing arguments that Hernandez was there when Lloyd was killed.
But the attorney pinned the shooting on two of Hernandez’s friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, saying his client was a "23-year-old kid" who witnessed a shocking crime and didn’t know what to do. Wallace and Ortiz will stand trial later.
Prosecutors have suggested Lloyd may have been killed because he knew too much about Hernandez’s alleged involvement in a deadly 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston. But they were not allowed to tell the jury that because the judge said it was speculation.
As a result, they never offered a motive beyond saying Hernandez appeared angry with Lloyd at a nightclub two nights before the killing.
In the 2012 case, Hernandez is accused of gunning down two men over a spilled drink at a nightclub.